The fairy stories that you had read to you as a kid, and later maybe read for yourself, almost always ended with the words – “and they got married and lived happily ever after”.
Since you have been married, you may be wondering what on earth the fairy story writers were talking about!
How many people do you know – including yourselves – who live happily ever after?
But let’s not be cynical. One of the reasons we get married is to have children, right? But even that does not necessarily lead to living happily ever after, does it? In fact, it is likely that if you are a ‘normal parent’ living a ‘normal life’ – mortgage, medical bills, school fees, having to deliver and collect children from school, tuition classes, sports etc, etc, – and trying to hold down a job – overtime, home late, missing birthday parties, etc etc – you may begin to wonder whether it is all worth it. Problems with time, problems with money, sex life not being like it was… … You know the feeling I am sure.
It has always seemed strange to me that we don’t really prepare ourselves properly to get married, and we certainly don’t get properly prepared for becoming a parent, which is not an easy role.
In fact part of the problem is that it is not a role. It is in fact four roles, each of which needs to be performed effectively if you are to be a good parent and produce and develop good kids.
Four roles?? No wonder it’s tough being a parent!!
What are they?
First you have to be an educator. Hang on, you say, education is the school’s job. Yes and no. The three R’s = reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic may be the school’s job, but the education of your children is much too important to be left to teachers.
Then you have to be an authority. Now that’s an easier role you may think. That’s what canes were invented for! Again, yes and no. They can be useful sometimes, but that’s not really all that authority is about.
Then you have to be a counsellor. You can’t counsel with a cane. Counselling is a communication skill, not a contact sport. And communication involves listening as well as talking, and it rarely includes ordering. It also involves time, and heaven knows, you’ve already got too little of that!
And finally, you need to be a guide. Although kids, as they grow older, claim they know what they are doing and where they are going, they don’t really. And you will be well aware that in a number of cases, what they want to do, and where they want to go is not exactly what you would like them to do and where you would like them to go.
If any of the above rings bells for you, then keep checked in to this blog. Over the next little while, we shall explore each of these roles in more depth.